Adrenaline rushed through my veins; my world seemed to close around me, leaving me like a beacon of light in a world of forever growing darkness. The thoughts of backing out flooded my mind; I couldn’t, I wouldn’t, follow through. But a small voice in the back of my mind kept whispering to me, fluttering about my subconscious and assuring me that I was going to be safe. So I pushed on.
Everyone remembers the feelings they experience when the try something new; the question of failure is often so prevalent, it can keep us from pushing on and striving for the goals we set for ourselves in the first place.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
For me, the first experience I had snorkeling will stay with me forever. This was during a time when I questioned everything; what will happen when I fall asleep? Will my heart suddenly stop working? What will happen if I can’t feel the sandy bottom of the lake anymore? What will be waiting for me when my feet don’t have the assurance of earth between its toes? Paranoid of my surroundings would be a great adjective to place above my head. Thankfully this was just a stage. But thinking back to my experience in the waters of the Crystal River snaking through Central Florida, I know that what I felt that day would shape my outlook on the unknown for the better.
Once I slipped into the water, my nerves began to drive my whole body; the shaking only began to subdue after I turned my head and saw my friend swimming next to me. Clutching my underwater camera tightly in my hands, I began to slowly swim forward, taking in my underwater surroundings. Whoever said that being underwater was like landing on a whole different planet was right; the plants were soft to my touch, and moved so gracefully as my fingers brushed their long tentacle like leaves. Focusing on the floor of the river and all it had to offer, I hadn’t noticed my friend had stopped swimming. Turning to him and following his gaze through his mask, I saw a giant creature looming ahead, grazing on the grass of the ocean. Here was the creature I would soon come to revere; the manatee I would encounter would be the center of my trip to the river, and would be what I would talk most about once I returned home. Swimming up to it, I was able to take a picture with the underwater camera. The calmness that surrounded me when I was in reverence of this animal was astounding; it was as if floating next to it, I understood the balance of its own environment.
Although the feeling of adrenaline from being in the cool waters of the Crystal River wore off, the feelings that accompanied me in the water never have faded away. Soon after, I no longer questioned the outcomes of the simple actions in my everyday life, because now I had understood the consequences would not always be negative. This whole trip in turn helped me understand the best things in life will catch you by surprise; they cannot be predicted or charted out in advance. You have to experience each day with an open heart, anticipating nothing but experiencing everything. It is then you will know and understand what life should be like.
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